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Consumer Beware of Professional Service Providers

By Erik Folgate

We all know about used car salesmen, auto mechanics, plumbers, and contractors that try to pull a fast one on us by selling us products and services that we may not need. Every time i bring my car in for service, there’s something new that’s “allegedly” wrong with it. In my day job, I deal with plumbers and restoration contractors all day long. Some are very honest and others will milk you for everything they can get away with. It’s pretty well-known that you should be cautious when dealing with these people. However, it’s not as well-known to be cautious when going to see your doctor, dentist, veterinarian, or any other professional with letters after their name. We as responsible consumers, need to be more careful wtih the professionals that we see, because your best interest may not always be on their mind.

Recently, we took our dog to a veterinarian in Jacksonville, Florida that we didn’t know anything about. Our dog has sensitive skin, and she has had an irritation on her back. She ripped out a chunk of hair, so we know that we needed her to see a vet. We take her to vet, and two prescriptions later and a skin scraping procedure, and we owe $235 bucks. The skin scraping was warranted, but I don’t think the pills are helping her at all. We also had a bad experience with a dentist about a year ago. We felt that she was very “crown” happy. My wife got a second opinion from a dentist we trust in my hometown, and he said that a crown wasn’t necessary yet.

The point is that you must keep up your guard, even if these professionals seem trustworthy. The problem is that we tend to see someone in a white coat or a nice shirt and tie, and we think they have our best financial interest at heart. We’re more inclined to think that a guy with grease on his hands that looks a little rough around the edges is trying to screw us over. I’m not accusing you of always profiling someone like that, but you have to admit that it’s easy to do. I know that I am guilty of it sometimes.

If you want to choose a professional that you can trust, ask friends, family, or co-workers for a referral. Thumbing through the yellow pages is a great way to choose someone who loves to spend more money on marketing than their customer service.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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